My First Day of School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Fear started taking over. I was walking into my first school in America. I had traveled a long distance from India in order to join my mother, who had been here for three years, hoping America would help my future. My father decided that I would be better off going to school here, so I enrolled in the local high school in my new town.

I was afraid how I would do. I didn’t know anybody in my classes. On the first day, I went to my second period class after
I had missed my first. I was already confused because in India the teachers switch according to periods while most of the students have the same periods.

With anxiety on one hand and fear on the other, I reached for the door knob, opening it slowly. Everyone’s eyes were on me as I entered the room. Without paying attention to them, I went straight to the teacher and asked if this was the right class. With a soft voice he answered, “Yes.” His voice comforted me a little. He gave me a sheet called Course Requirements, which I would never get in India because we didn’t have anything like that. Then he asked me to choose where I would sit. I chose the seat closest to the door instead of the corner where all of the boys were sitting. I didn’t actually want to pick a seat. In India we had assigned seats, so I never needed to worry about that. I spent the rest of the class taking notes from the image produced by the overhead projector. In Indian schools, we didn’t use the technology we had. We had to take notes as the teacher spoke.

Since it was my first day, I was confused which hallway to use, but I managed to get to my classes without asking anyone. I was very confused about when I would have lunch. It was noon. I went to my next class and the bell rang as I entered. I went through the regular process of asking the teacher if I was in the right class. She said, “It’s still fourth period.”

“But the bell just rang,” I said.

Changing from a gentle tone to a harsher one, she said, “That is the lunch bell.” I apologized. Without another word I headed for the cafeteria. I felt lucky because we didn’t have this in India. Every confusion seemed like an obstacle I had to get through to reach my goal. At the end of the day, I was on my way to the bus which we didn’t have in India either. I spotted my bus and sat down inside happily. I was thinking, Today wasn’t so bad.

As time passed that year, I developed some friendships and started to love my school. I found out that U.S. citizens have many opportunities but not everyone is using them. Some people take them for granted, not realizing that other countries are struggling.

The teachers had a fun way of making hard things so easy that a three-year-old could do them. The teachers in my home country had a more strict way of saying things. We also had much longer school days in India – 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. – while in America school was 7:30 to 2:30. The main difference I found in America is the amount I learned each day. In the U.S. schools I learned a lot less material. So, I had more prior knowledge than most of the kids in my class, which gave me an advantage. Because of these educational opportunities I feel I am the luckiest person in the whole world.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 42 comments. Post your own now!

loverboyk6268 said...
today at 10:18 am
it was real good
April said...
Aug. 24, 2017 at 7:15 am
I wonder what sorf of a school you went to India or better say which India did you go, because as far as i know, there are proper schools, with requirements fulfiled of their students, luch break and for heavens sake there are school buses. This is not even nearly appropriate piece of writing as the writer i guess did not know anything about India. However im not an Indian but I know a place very much like it.
Ariel01 said...
Jul. 28, 2017 at 9:11 pm
This was a very interesting article. I found it quite fascinating to learn the differences between American School and school in India. Your writing was very clear, concise and kept my attention. Good job.
gege said...
Apr. 15, 2017 at 9:32 pm
What the fuck I fuck your mother at America
;:NK;:; said...
Feb. 14, 2017 at 11:28 pm
Can I have some words in your article?
Roland bafana said...
Feb. 11, 2017 at 2:30 am
Can we have your mind map on your essay plz but l think you going to rock this world
eva.foxwell said...
Feb. 3, 2016 at 10:49 pm
Emily, that was so nice of you to write all that information and recognize my efforts. You truly deserve to walk the path of success and I feel honored that you were one of my students. Thank you again so much and keep working hard for all the goodness to follow. Miss you!!
SeungwooNam said...
Jan. 25, 2016 at 6:48 am
That was good. I can relate as a student who moved from my home country, Pakistan, to Canada. The timings weren't that long, but I was in a similar situation with the prior knowledge from my old school.
Neitzelm said...
Jan. 13, 2016 at 1:10 pm
Wow that good
Aarya1 said...
Nov. 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm
I would like to ask you a question and that is which school did you go to in India? Iam also an indian student and my timings are 8am to 2pm so i was a little surprised!!
Nalu said...
Aug. 22, 2015 at 7:31 pm
I'm from England, an I'm quite curious about other people's experiences of school from different countries. I like how you compared your experiences in India to those in America :) I was surprised about the times, though! In my school in England, we start at 8:40 (for form time) and first period begins at 9:00, and then school ends at 3:15. I can't believe how long school is in India! It must be exhausting...
Funky she said...
Aug. 16, 2015 at 9:18 pm
I'm still nervous
Lea66 replied...
Oct. 1, 2015 at 11:10 am
Wow! What a beautiful poem.
brasil said...
Mar. 16, 2015 at 11:10 am
Its a nice essay it has vivid and perfect words said...
Feb. 13, 2015 at 6:48 am
You had a great description about the senses that we could imagine that moment completely:) nice:)
Thefanatasticagirlie101 said...
Jan. 6, 2015 at 6:05 pm
That must be troubling for you. Great job writing this though!!!
MacrinaJAThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 3, 2014 at 1:11 am
Wow. I really liked this! inspiratinol, great writing, its great! Thank you for this.  
GloGirlQ said...
Sept. 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm
One of the hardest times of your life will be going to a new school. This relates to me because I was a little scared when I started a new school.
Stealthrunner said...
Jul. 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm
I love it you are just like me I also came from India and was nervous about school
jessi 1200 said...
May 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm
it was a little bit nice  it is long. i didn`t like it
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